Succulents are adorable little plants with quirky looks and a wide variety of sizes. They have become increasingly popular with gardeners and plant lovers everywhere, and it’s typical to find a succulent on many windowsills now, basking in the sun.
However, did you know that you can multiply your succulents and grow even more of them to be tucked around the house? The best part is that you can propagate succulents from just one primary plant yourself, and you can even do it for free.
If you want to create a whole bunch more of these cute plants for your living space, you might be wondering how to propagate succulents successfully. Well, you are in the right place!
Read on for the best tips and tricks on how to propagate succulents easily at home.
How To Cut A Succulent For Propagation
When propagating your succulents, getting the necessary growth for a secondary plant is the first step. This is done by either taking whole leaves from an existing succulent, or by snipping the entire top off a plant that has overgrown.
Option One: Leaf Removal
One of the easiest ways to get a cutting of your succulent for propagation, leaf removal, is just that—by taking one or more leaves from your succulent, you can turn each successful one into a brand new plant.
Make sure to remove the leaves right at the base, where they meet the stalk. If you break it off halfway and don’t get the portion just before the stem, the propagation likely will not work.
For best results, grasp the leaf firmly and wiggle its base until it gives way with a clean break. There is usually no pulling motion involved.
Option Two: Beheading
It might sound drastic, but getting your succulent cutting by beheading an existing plant is not as bad as it seems. This method is best done to a plant that is overgrown and has a stem that is visibly too lengthy.
Take a sharp pair of scissors and trim the head off your succulent, leaving about an inch of stalk on the part you have removed. You will be able to replant this portion, and even re-propagate the original stalk into a new, smaller succulent!
How To Divide A Succulent For Propagation
Divide and conquer—or at least, divide and cultivate. This method of separating out new growth for propagation can be trickier than getting a cutting off of an existing plant, but it can also be much quicker in terms of actual growing time.
Read on to learn how to propagate succulents by dividing growths away from the mother plant.
Option One: Plantlet Removal
Most succulents have plantlets that shoot up on the periphery of the main plant. These little plant babies, also known as offsets, are fully formed succulents in their own right, and are already ready for replanting.
Particular types of succulents will shed plantlets instead of sprouting them alongside, and these can be propagated just like a leaf cutting.
Option Two: Root Separation
Other than plantlets, you can separate succulents according to clumps that they have grown into, and plant the whole things, roots and all, into separate pots.
To do this, take the entire succulent out of the soil, including the whole root bundle. Gently shake off any remaining dirt and, using your fingers, work the roots apart until you have separated one clump from the main plant.
This new one can be planted in new soil immediately, and doesn’t have to wait for added growth.
How To Propagate Succulents: Planting Divided Plantlets Or Roots
Depending on how you have divided your succulents, you don’t really have to worry about the initial regrowth process.
If you separate plantlets from a mother succulent, they can typically be transferred to a new pot for subsequent replanting. It might take some time for the roots to secure into the new soil, but these plantlets will thrive and grow quite quickly.
If you have gone the route of root separation, those fully rooted plant clumps can be immediately planted in a new location. If you are planting root-separated succulent propagations outside, make sure to dig enough room for their root system to sprawl out as they re-root into the ground.
How To Propagate Succulents From Cuttings In 5 Steps
By far the most popular and easiest way to propagate succulents from a plant you already have is by planting succulent cuttings. This is an easy process and tends to be successful for most gardeners who attempt it, regardless of their previous experience with plant propagation.
Let’s discuss the five simple steps for using succulent cuttings, as well as how to propagate succulents successfully at home!
Step One: Gather Your Supplies
You don’t need many items for the successful propagation of succulents. The list of supplies that you need to gather is as follows:
- Container or tray.
- Garden gloves.
- Little trowel.
- Pots with drainage holes on the bottom
- Sharp pair of scissors.
- Succulent potting soil.
You will also need succulent cuttings that you have gathered, whether they are leaves or the top of a lengthy plant. As a general rule, the more cuttings you have the better, as propagation is not guaranteed for each one.
Step Two: Let Them Callus
Spread out your cuttings in the container or tray and separate them. Don’t worry about adding soil or water—this process of callusing requires the cuttings to dry out and form a thick protective layer over the exposed or cut end.
Set the cuttings aside and leave them alone for about five to seven days. This should be long enough for the callus to form on the base of each cutting, guarding the new propagations against disease as they grow roots.
Step Three: Root Growth
After the calluses form on each cutting, it’s time to watch the roots grow! Again, there is not much you can do to encourage this process—the succulent cuttings will begin to send out new root growth as the rest of the cutting withers. It may take up to three weeks for this step.
Step Four: Plant The Cuttings
Once your patience has paid off and the cuttings have visible roots extending from the callused end, the little pre-succulents can be planted. Make sure the roots are at least half an inch long to give them the best possible chance, particularly if you are planting the cuttings outside.
Fill your pots with succulent soil and gently tuck the rooted cuttings into the dirt. They should not be planted too deeply, only about an inch into the topsoil.
If you plant them outside, then mix some pumice or sand into the garden soil in that area before planting. This will help with drainage, which is crucial for succulent propagations that are just beginning to grow.
Step Five: Feed And Water
Now you can nourish the cuttings and watch them thrive. It’s important to water them only sparingly, as succulents do not need too much moisture for growth and overwatering them can be devastating.
Don’t water your newly propagated succulents the same day that you plant them. Instead, let them rest in their new homes overnight.
You can give a bit of water the next day, but make sure to re-pack the soil around their roots afterward. This helps prevent any dirt loosening and causing root shift directly after planting. Once your plants are at home in the soil, they will continue rooting and a whole new succulent will emerge from the cutting!
Can You Propagate Succulents Just In Water?
Some gardeners debate the merits of propagating succulents in soil versus in water, but the truth is that both methods can be successful. You can certainly propagate your succulent cuttings in water instead of planting them in the soil. Let’s take a closer look at this process and how it can benefit your succulent propagation.
Why Propagate Succulents In Water?
Most succulents can be propagated in water. This is especially true for those succulent types sporting thick leaves or plump stalks, such as Aloe, Kalanchoe, Echeveria, and Jade plants.
The advantages of this process include faster results, but most importantly, it avoids exposing the delicate cuttings to possible bacteria or rot from being planted in damp soil.
Of course, the roots grown in water propagation are not the primary roots used when you transfer the developed cutting to soil later on, but a water bath provides extra protection for your little plants as they grow and collect nutrients.
It depends on your preference and the type of succulents you’re working with, but water propagation could be a game-changer for you!
How To Propagate Succulents In Water
Many of the steps for propagating succulents in water are the same for doing so in soil, so you don’t have to worry about excessive complications!
Step One: Cuttings And Calluses
Gather your cuttings and lay them out to callus as usual. You still want that initial protective layer to form on the end where the cutting has been removed.
Step Two: Add To Water
Once a callus has grown over the exposed portion, you can place the cutting into a cup or small jar of water. Make sure the entire thing is not underwater—only the callused end should be just barely touching the water.
Step Three: Grow Roots And Plant
Once you leave the jar in a warm, sunny place, you should notice roots begin to grow within a few weeks. They should reach a suitable length within about four to six weeks, at which time you can remove them from the water and plant as normal, watering occasionally.
Now that we have covered the various methods of how to propagate succulents, hopefully you are excited to try it out on your own plants!
But just in case you have some further questions on the topic, let’s unearth some answers to common questions that other succulent gardeners have.
Can You Propagate Succulent Cuttings?
Gardeners everywhere have had success with propagating succulent cuttings, no matter their skill level! Succulents are among the easiest plants to propagate, so multiplying your succulent crop is simple and quick. By taking leaves or removing the head of a succulent entirely, they can be re-rooted and planted as new succulents.
How Long Does It Take Succulent To Propagate?
Though it does depend on the types of succulents and, to a certain extent, the planting conditions you have for it, it generally takes between two and three weeks for succulents to root and begin propagation. It will take about eight weeks more for new leaves to appear on the newly propagated baby plant.
Do Succulents Need Sun To Propagate?
Place your succulents in a warm, sunny area for propagation, but not in direct sunlight. They will use the light and warmth to grow, but too much sun will bake the succulents and negatively affect the propagation and sprouting process.
Similarly, don’t hide your propagating succulents in a shady area, as this will also slow root growth. The perfect place for succulents to propagate is within an area with bright sunshine, but not sitting in the direct sun.
Are Succulents Good For Beginners?
In general, succulents are a great plant for beginners to test their green thumbs. And because there are so many types of succulents of varying difficulties, styles, sizes, and colors, you can find the perfect plant for your level of experience and living considerations.
Succulents are among some of the easiest plants to care for, and tend to be hardy, tolerant, and very difficult to kill, making them perfect for the beginning gardener. With the right products, soil, and care, you can have a lovely range of healthy succulents.
What Kind Of Potting Soil Do I Use For Succulents?
Succulents do best when planted in soil that is formulated specifically to drain well. This means most potting soils, and even regular soil from your garden, will not be ideal for succulent growth.
Thankfully, there is a range of easy-drain soils available—try a generic cactus and succulent potting soil, or an African violet soil mix, both of which are available at most local gardening centers or hardware stores.
You can even make your own succulent soil at home with sand and pumice mixed into potting soil to amplify the draining ability of the substance.
Succulents are a fun little type of plant that is perfect for beginners and veteran gardeners alike. Easy to care for and sweet to see, succulents are a common favorite for good reason.
And if you want even more succulents around the house, there’s good news—you can easily propagate them yourself! The process is surprisingly simple, and all you need is a mother plant, some containers, and a bit of patience for the propagation process.